Interview with Björn Windmüller, Team Lead Warehouse at our Outlet Store in Münster

Björn, Team Lead Warehouse, share’s his thoughts on leadership, his personal motivation for working at our Zalando Outlet Store – and reveals his leadership principles for us all to learn from.

4 min
24 April 2024

Hello, Björn. Thank you for taking the time for today's interview. Let's get started right away: Where are you from – and did you relocate to join Zalando?

I'm originally from Osnabrück and completed my apprenticeship at Kaufhof in 2000. After my apprenticeship, I was also able to gain my first management experience. However, after 20 years, I decided to leave the retail sector and moved into logistics. I didn’t realise how much I missed retail until I received a very interesting offer to join the Zalando Outlet in Münster, which I accepted immediately!

We’re glad you came back to retail! When exactly did you join Zalando, and what are your responsibilities here?

I've been a proud part of the Zalando Outlet Store team since November 2021: More specifically, I work as a Team Lead Warehouse in our Outlet Store in Münster. I’m part of the management team, so I’m responsible for keeping the store running, along with the rest of the management team.

Tell us more, what do you get up to day-to-day?

In addition to managing the employees, my tasks include weekly stock-taking and managing the flow of products with the merchandising team to ensure that we always have the right items on site. I am also responsible for compliance with all work processes and actively lead by example, which is particularly important to me. 

Absolutely, "you have to walk the talk", the saying goes. What’s your favourite thing about working at Zalando?

There are so many! I love supporting employees on their growth journey, accompanying them from their first day at the store to becoming a permanent part of Zalando. It makes me proud every single time! I also relish the opportunity to challenge processes and be able to modify (and help shape them) where needed. 

Very understandable. And while we're at it: What else motivates you to give your best at work every day?

It may sound a bit unusual, but it's true: seeing the continuous improvement in the store motivates me every day. Personally, I also think it's fantastic how the store and the employees have evolved, and it's motivated me immensely to be a part of it every day for the past two years. 

How would you describe your leadership style? 

Communicative and cooperative: This means that I am open to every suggestion and provide support wherever I can. However, we also need to put ourselves in our customer’s shoes and make things happen for them - which also makes me very action-driven. 

And what do you think is the best thing about being a leader in your department? 

Basically, I can answer this question in just two words: My colleagues!

We can literally feel (and see) your enthusiasm! But hand on heart: what do you wish you had known earlier when you set out to become a manager?

I wish I had realised earlier on that I wouldn't be able to inspire everyone with my way of doing things – and that it is unfortunately not possible to promote all talents in the long term. 

What tip would you offer someone who works under your supervision about your ways of collaboration? 

My tip is to always communicate openly and honestly: This is particularly important when something is not going well, whether it's between colleagues or with leads. Of course, this also applies if you have an idea that could make us even better. Then, I’m ready to give it a go. Bring it on. 

What do you personally need to be successful as a Team Lead at the Zalando Outlet Store?

I need my supervisors to support me in thinking outside of the box, by regularly sharing their knowledge with me. I also value a team that supports my structure and my strategy, but also critically challenges it and even improves it.  We’re a team, and we have to think big!

And last but not least: what advice would you give to someone in your team who has recently started their career or changed careers? 

Keep learning, question yourself, and critically assess whether the expertise and “how-tos” you have learnt fit your current role. As a practical example to illustrate this: In a new role, for example, I might have to adapt my communication with my employees, compared to my former team. You have to have a certain degree of adaptability and flexibility. 

Thank you very much for the great interview, Björn. We very much appreciate having you on the team!

Would you like to be part of our Outlet team? Find out more about our open positions, locations and teams.